Saturday, 27 July 2013

The Original Dr. Bircher Muesli

I took down Neil Perry from the bookshelf "The Food I Love - Beautiful, Simple Food to Cook at Home" a very stylish book, photographed with lots of white and grey, quite a bit of reading with each recipe and crisp white pages and grey font. I was happy it was No. 30 on the shelf, and I was happy to take it down. Ashamedly I have not cooked one single thing from it ......until now. Page 30 what delicacy would it hold, not much, page 30 hardly got past the contents page, introduction,  and tools and equipment! Then it begins with light breakfasts!  After the initial disappointment of what page 30 held, I realised I had never prepared (you can hardly call it cooking) a Bircher Muesli and here was my task to make the original.  I must add that even though I have never prepared a bircher muesli in my own kitchen this is normally the starter I go for when breakfasting on holiday, you know the scene at the big buffet breakfasts, or on a weekend away staying at a nice hotel.  Usually I go for prunes on top (I hear you wincing) but I love it!! Its normally followed with all the naughty, fattening stuff afterwards. But I digress......back to the muesli,  Neil tells me this is the original recipe.

2 cups of rolled oats
juice of 2 lemons
2 sour green apples (Granny Smith)
2 cups plain yogurt
1/2 cup honey
choice of poached fruit, e.g. pears, or fresh fruit
1/3 cup roasted hazelnuts, skinned and crushed to serve.

How to roast nuts.....

  • Hazelnuts can be roasted by simply cooking in a preheated oven (180C/Gas 4/350F) until golden brown.  Shake the oven tray often to ensure an even roast.
  • Nuts will continue to cook after you have taken them from the oven so take them out when they are light brown in colour.
  • To remove the skins, allow to cool, put them into a clean tea towel, fold in half and rub the nuts inside the tea towel. 
  • Tip the nuts into a strainer and let the skins fall to the bottom.  

Now how to do it.... the night before
Mix oats, lemon juice and 1/2 cup water together in a bowl, cover and soak overnight. 
In the morning grate the apples including skins and add to the oats.
My green apples got used inadvertently for something else so I had to use the sweeter "Pink Lady" variety but I am glad I did as the bircher was a little tart. In future my preference would be to use the sweeter apple,  plus maybe a little less lemon juice or a little more honey.
Add the yogurt and honey and mix well.
Divide between four bowls and top with fruit of choice and sprinkle with hazelnuts.

A good healthy breakfast, simple and good for lowering cholesterol levels. 

Joining with Dom at Belleau Kitchen Random Recipes Challenge.

Friday, 26 July 2013

This Moment

A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week -leave a link to your "moment" in the comments for all to find and see. 

Joining with Amanda @ Soulemama

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Roast Chicken stuffed with Baby Grapefruit

Roast chicken is the easiest roast to cook (I think). You need to do very little to it and more often than not, it turns out perfect, in little over an hour (depending on size) and is very economical. Donna Hay has a lovely little book encompassing everything you need to know about cooking chicken, perfect for the beginner, and other recipes for the more adventurous.
Not that I am a beginner, I have watched the preparation and cooking of chicken from about the age of 5 or 6 .  Its surprising what you can learn when your chief job is stirring the gravy for years. My mum cooked roast chicken often,  (that and a roast shoulder of lamb) and with leftovers a beautiful chicken pie. Now that all my own children have left home, I still cook a whole chicken, the leftovers  turn into two or three
meals for two, if I am lucky.
Tonight I roasted a simple chicken, it sat neatly on four onion halves in the oven, that caramelised nicely underneath. A small homegrown grapefruit starred imploringly from the fruit bowl, so I cut it into quarters and stuffed it into the cavity to give a beautiful citrus flavour to the dish.
Smear the top of the chicken with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper and pop it in the oven at 180C (fan forced) and walk away for an hour.
After an hour it smelt cooked, I took it out of the oven and tested it by placing a screwer into the thickest part, under the leg, to see if the juices ran clear, it was still a little pink.   It needed a little longer. 20 minutes later it was perfect. A 1.4kg (3lb) chicken will take approximately an hour.
The man likes his stuffing crispy, rather than soft from the inside of the chicken, so we roast little balls separately on a tray. The chicken can be cut into several portions for different meals, the legs (maryland) were perfect for tonight, leaving the breast and wings etc. for another meal. Serve with roasted onions and grapefruit to squeeze over the chicken.

Stuffing balls
If you can't be bothered to make your own stuffing...
1 packet of supermarket stuffing mix (follow instructions on the packet)
add some chopped peanuts,  currents and
chilli flakes (optional)
make into balls and pop in the oven on a tray for the last 20 minutes of cooking, approximately.

The man said " I think roast chicken is my favourite!"

Wrap up leftovers in tin foil and hide so that no one picks at it for supper!!

Roast chicken with caramelised onions, grapefruit and stuffing balls.

Monday, 22 July 2013

Honey Lamb with Red Wine and Chilli

It was a cold windy wet weekend! It was busy with all the things that need to be done on a weekend when one works all week!   It got to Sunday afternoon and the usual question of what shall we have for dinner eventually was discussed.  It was the perfect time to set in motion a slow cook. Armed with another tray of "Meat Bones" (or any cheap cut of meat) and a bottle of red, throw in some red capsicum, honey and chilli and you have the perfect winter dinner to chase away a chilly evening.

Ingredients - serves 4 - cooking time 2.5 hours
1kg lamb (cheap cuts, chops, shanks)
2 large red capsicums - chopped
4 garlic cloves cut into slivers
2 brown onions - chopped
1 bottle red wine
1 tablespoon cumin seeds - roasted
1 tablespoon coriander seeds - roasted
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 red chillies finely chopped (optional deseed for less heat)
400g tinned chopped tomatoes
3 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon plain (all purpose) flour.

What to do....

Put seeds in a frying pan over a medium heat and roast for 2-3 minutes - they will start to smell fantastic and pop in the pan.  Be careful not to burn. Grind to a powder.
Heat oil in a pan and brown the meat.
Remove and set aside.
Preheat oven to 180C (350F/Gas 4)
Add the vegetables and chilli and cook for 8-10 minutes until the onion softens.
In a bowl mix the chopped tomatoes and honey together and add wine until all combined.
Put the flour into the ground spices and then dust the vegetables in the pan with the mixture.
Pour in the tomato and wine liquid over the veg and stir together.
Season with salt
Add the meat back into the pan and bring to the boil.
Cover with a lid and pop into the oven for approximate 2 hours or until meat is tender and falls from the bone.
Some large pieces of meat may need turning in the pan halfway through the oven process.
Transfer the meat and most of the veg to a warm dish and on the stove top boil the liquid to reduce the sauce - about 10mins. Pour the sauce over the meat and veg and serve with rice.

This recipe has been adapted fro m Joanne Glynn's book Slow Cooking.

This was perfect after a long walk down the beach on a cold night, and it had cooked all by itself in the oven while we were out.

Friday, 19 July 2013

This Moment

 A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week -leave a link to your "moment" in the comments for all to find and see. 

Joining with Amanda @ Soulemama

Thursday, 18 July 2013

July in the Garden - Pruning

White oak leaf hydrangea - Christmas 2011
I am not a big pruner, which is a problem because that means the man gets out with the secateurs before me, and he tends to be very heavy handed! Last weekend I decided it was time to prune the roses and my oak leaf hydrangea, whose leaves had turned a gorgeous autumn ruby red. They had got a little leggy and needed a cut back ready for next year.
My two special hydrangeas arrived for Christmas 2011, together with two handmade recycled timber planter boxes.  My lovely gardener  made the boxes and thought they would be perfect planted out with hydrangea.  I had been hinting I wanted them for some time. I was very happy when they finally arrived.(Son No. 2 - see website here)

These hydrangea have a soft open flower head and an oak leaf shaped leaf (hence the common name).  They are quite delicate and I was very worried about the hot summer weather.  They need watering daily during the hot summer months and as these are in a position that receive morning and midday sun we have been vigilant in protecting them with umbrellas and some shading mechanisms. By the time the sun drops into the west they are protected by the silver birches and the house,  thank goodness!
Christmas 2012

 Last year they hardly received a prune and grew considerably.

Ruby red leaves before the prune July 2013

The recycled wooden hand made planter boxes have weathered to a lovely grey

 To read more about hydrangeas see Gardening Australia

Have you done your pruning yet?

Friday, 12 July 2013

Milk and Honey Bread

For a while now I have been promising myself to give this "no knead" bread method a go.   Everyone is talking about it and I have been slow to get with the program! With a little bit of time of my hands after work and with any excuse to put the oven on to warm up the house I flicked through a few bread recipes. I couldn't find exactly what I wanted so I attempted a combo of a couple and the result was so satisfying, and it looked amazing, even if I do say so myself.
I had been keeping some sour milk in the fridge that I wanted to use, instead of buttermilk.  I had to save it a couple of times from being tipped down the sink by the man! It worked a treat in this bread and gave it a lovely scone like texture. This bread takes hardly any time to make, no proofing, so I feel confident that it can be whipped up at short notice...... well quickly anyway.  And you are bound to have all the ingredients.  If no sour milk add some lemon juice to normal milk.

Heat the oven to 200C

500g plain flour
1 teaspoon bicarb. soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon honey
40g melted butter
340ml of sour full cream milk.

 What to do...
Sieve into a large bowl the flour, salt and bicarbonate of soda
Make a well in the centre and pour in the melted butter, honey and milk
Bring together with a spoon (it could be quite sloppy)
Turn out onto a floured board and knead together for about 1 minute until the dough is smooth.
Form into a round flattish ball.
Flour a baking tray.
Put the dough onto the tray and with the handle of a floured wooden spoon press down nearly to the bottom as if to divide in half and in half again.
I picked this tip up from Lorraine Pascale's book Baking Made Easy
Lightly dust the top of the dough with flour and place in the top of the oven.

 Bake for 30-40mins or until cooked.
Tap bottom if it sounds hollow its cooked.  If it needs a bit longer cover the top with tin foil so that it doesn't burn.

It cooked quickly and smelt amazing.
We broke it open straight from the oven and couldn't resist a piece slathered with butter.
Very naughty, but nice. Perfect with some hot soup on a chilly night.

This Moment

(this moment) - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week.  A simple, special extraordinary moment.  A moment I want to pause savour and remember.  If your inspired to do the same, leave a link to your "moment" in the comments for all to find and see. 

Inspired by Amanda @ Soulemama

Friday, 5 July 2013

This Moment

38th Wedding Anniversary @ Flower Drum Melbourne 5/7/13

(this moment) - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week.  A simple, special extraordinary moment.  A moment I want to pause savour and remember.  If your inspired to do the same, leave a link to your "moment" in the comments for all to find and see.  Inspired by Amanda @ Soulemama

Thursday, 4 July 2013

Osso Bucco

I have made Osso Bucco a couple of times now  - both times with different recipes.  Apparently one version is  northern Italian without tomatoes and the gremolata included in the cooking and the other from southern Italy with tomatoes and the gremolata sprinkled on the top - or is it the other way around.  Not sure if this is entirely correct but both, I have to say, were delicious, but I really prefer this version by Leanne Kitchen from her book "the butcher".  I really like her books and I don't use them nearly enough.  This one is a good size - not too big, good photos, and clear classic recipes.
Click here to buy - delivery  free 

 Osso Bucco is a cheap veal shank braised slowly so that it can be cut with a fork! So in my favourite slow cooking style this bubbled away on a low heat.


Serves 4
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion finely chopped
1 garlic clove crushed
1 kg osso bucco
2 tablespoons flour
400g tin chopped tomatoes
250 ml white wine
250 ml chicken stock

2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic

What to do....

Heat half the oil in a large shallow flameproof casserole dish or pan.
Add onion and sauté over low heat for 10 minutes until soft and golden.
Add the garlic - cook for 1 minute and remove from pan.
Heat remaining oil in pan and brown osso bucco over medium heat for 6-7 minutes, turn once, remove from pan.
Return onions to the pan add flour, cook for 30 seconds, remove from the heat and slowly stir in the tomatoes, wine and stock until well combined.
Add the meat and bring to the boil, stirring.
Cover reduce heat to low and gently simmer for 2.5 hours or until the meat falls from the bone.
To make the gremolata .....
In a small bowl mix together all the ingredients - easy!
Serve with risotto or plain white rice or lashings of creamy mashed potato sprinkle over the gremolata. Yumo! Happy 4th July !